On Friday (March 26), Elkton’s football team traveled to North Lake to compete against the North Lake/Paisley co-op team. In an incredibly close game where the Elks were just barely behind for the entirety, in the final 10 seconds of the game, Elkton was able to pull ahead and defeat the Cowboys, 60-53.
“It was the most exciting game I have ever been a part of. They fought the entire way,” said Elks coach Jeremy Lockhart. “The tenacity that they had and just the ability to answer every time that we were down — even when we were tied, we still were fighting and scrapping just to try to hang. I was super proud of those guys.”
The game had both sides on edge throughout and each quarter seemed to inch along the scores. But the Cowboys maintained the lead until the literal near end.
At the close of the first quarter, the Elks were behind by one touchdown at 6-13. Each team answered with two scores in the second quarter, bringing the score to 19-25 at the half — with the Cowboys still ahead.
In the third quarter, both teams again scored twice, and the Elks remained trailing, 32-29. However, in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys faltered enough to allow Elkton to score four times to their three, which ultimately led to the Elks taking the win.
With two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, North Lake scored their final touchdown of the game and led by 7 points. On the return, the Elks handed the ball off to Cooper Peters, who utilized a clear path on the left and made a clean cut to take the ball in for a 55-yard score. After securing the conversion, the Elks had tied the game.
On the Cowboys’ next possession, they got down to the 32-yard line in Elkton territory and, with a minute to go, they were calling timeouts to make sure they could get in for one last score.
With the Cowboys at fourth-and-inches, Jace Clevenger and Peters called a blitz. Lockhart gave his players full credit for handling the play as they did.
“I didn’t call it,” said the coach. “I trust those guys, and they called it, and they blitzed like crazy up the middle.”
Clevenger and Peters tackled North Lake’s Dalton Puckett for a two-yard loss, stopping them on the fourth down. When Elkton gained possession of the ball, they ran it to Peters, who picked up about nine yards, and then called a timeout.
Coming back, Elkton ran with a rush play to Nathan Rausch, who picked up the first down as Elkton called a time out with 24 seconds left.
On the next play, the Elks threw their big touchdown to Peters. “It was a beautiful rope throw from Clevenger from the sidelines, and [Peters] caught it, juked his guy, and along he went,” said Lockhart. “It was wild.”
Although the Elks finally led with just 10 seconds left in the game, the Cowboys still had time to recover. Elkton kicked it off to North Paisley and, on their possession, the Cowboys still had one timeout left.
However, on their first play, the Cowboys fumbled it, with Peters recovering the loose ball to cement the win, 60-53.
Peters had a stellar game for the Elks picking up 21 carries for 236 yards and four rushing touchdowns, as well as four receptions for 159 yards and three receiving touchdowns. Peters also had five conversions; three on the ground, and two receiving. In addition, he had 10 tackles and the clutch fumble recovery in the final seconds of the game, which incidentally was the only turnover in the game for both sides.
Rausch had five carries for 19 yards, as well as a touchdown and a receiving conversion from Jace Clevenger.
Connor Anderson had five carries for 48 yards for the Elks, and he also scored a touchdown.
With regard to passing, Jace Clevenger was eight of 13 for 188 yards, and he had the three touchdown throws to Peters, as well as three conversions in the air.
“We dressed nine players, and that’s pretty low going into even a six-man game. We utilized every body that we had. It was a total team win.”
Elkton’s final game of the season is tomorrow (April 2) at home against Siletz Valley at 4 p.m.
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